Indonesian startup eFishery, which provides technology and services for aquaculture farmers, has raised $90 million in Series C funding.
The funds will be deployed to expand eFishery’s digital platform and to launch into new geographies. It’s targeting the top 10 countries in aquaculture, including China and India.
“This new funding will allow us to scale our impact, expand regionally, and achieve our target of being a leading aquaculture technology company by improving the livelihoods of the farmers that we empower,” co-founder and CEO Gibran Huzaifah said in a statement.
“This funding will gear us to aggressively hire, especially for engineering and product development talent. We aim to recruit a thousand of new employees this year, not only to make an impact for the aquaculture industry in Indonesia, but also on a larger scale, to conquer the global aquaculture supply.”
“Our first and foremost vision is to feed the global community through aquaculture as this is the most efficient and highly nutritious source of animal protein,” he added.
The Bandung-based startup aims to become nothing less than the world’s “largest digital ‘cooperative’ for fish and shrimp farming.”
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Founded in 2013, eFishery started out by offering a digitally-controlled ‘smart feeder’ for smallholder fish and shrimp farmers in Indonesia. It grew vertically and laterally from this, beginning by linking farmers to feed suppliers and then to other inputs via an online marketplace.
It has since moved into financial services, helping its network of farmers secure working capital for their operations. It also links them to buyer markets so that they have more competitive options for selling their produce.
“Our upstream technology, eFeeder, optimizes yield days and increases farmers’ production capacity by up to 26% while also optimizing feed efficiency by up to 30% through reducing time and labour costs,” Gibran said.
“We also connect farmers with buyers via eFresh, our downstream technology, which increases their purchasing power. As a result, [our] solutions ecosystem lowers operational farming costs and increases the farmers’ income by up to 45%.”
The most recent additions to eFishery’s product suite include eFarm, a farm management software platform that provides farmers with operational insights, and eFisheryKu, an app they can use to purchase supplies such as feed. This includes a ‘buy now, pay later’ facility so that farmers who have secured financing through the platform can pay for inputs and supplies in installments.
Users can also apply for loans directly from institutional financial services providers via the app’s eFund feature. Efishery says that over 7,000 farmers have been “supported” by its eFund service, which has seen loans worth a total $28 million approved so far.
Since launching in 2013, eFishery claims to have deployed “thousands” of its smart feeders to more than 30,000 fish and shrimp farmers across 27 of Indonesia’s 34 provinces.
Its fastest period of growth came over the past 12 months amid the Covid-19 pandemic, when it says its client base grew tenfold and its employee headcount grew threefold.
The startup aims to have 1 million farmers onboarded to its platform over the next three to five years.
“Indonesia is one of the world’s largest producers of fish and we believe its aquaculture industry can play a meaningful role in feeding the world’s growing population,” said Anna Lo, investment director, SoftBank Investment Advisers. “Efishery is pioneering the adoption of technology for local fish and shrimp farmers with a complete, integrated platform that supports them to improve productivity across feed supply, production, and the sale of fresh produce.”
Aakash Kapoor, vice president at Sequoia India, added: “With $20 billion in market size, and a fragmented and complex supply chain, aquaculture is one of the largest and most attractive opportunities in Indonesia. Efishery’s product offerings spanning feeder devices, input feed procurement, and fresh output sales combined with farmer financing is the most comprehensive and strategic model to serve this market.”